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“I am a Nomad,” Linh Nguyen of DePauw on Traveling

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DePauw chapter.

Linh Nguyen, a current junior from DePauw, is staring out the window, daydreaming about her next travel adventure as she sips her favorite strawberry smoothie during lunch break. Her thoughts are interrupted by a phone call from her mother in Vietnam who keeps asking her when she is going to visit home. 

Linh, 20, has traveled to 25 countries and plans to travel a lot more. Her parents are Vietnamese diplomats who took her everywhere they traveled. The first country Linh visited was Singapore when she was only three years old. “When I meet new people, they are usually shocked to hear that I have traveled to 25 countries. Unfortunately, most of them only care about the number and do not ask me in-depth questions about my experiences,” she said. 

Being a cosmopolitan has fundamentally changed Linh’s moral values and perspective on life. She has learned how to practice gratitude and to be kind to other people because, as she said, one never knows what’s going on in other people’s lives. As an introvert, she is glad to have been exposed to a variety of cultures which has made her socially intelligent and adaptable to new situations.

Coming to DePauw and being in a diverse environment was not a hard adjustment for Linh. In fact, as a nomad, she found that DePauw is her comfort zone. “Being a cosmopolitan has helped me quickly adjust to being a student at DePauw and allowed me to find common ground with people from the U.S as well as other international students,” she said. 

For Linh, traveling is not an escape. Rather, it is a way for her to find beauty in different places of the world and compare different cultures to her own. “When I was younger, I was immature and I took travel opportunities for granted because I did not understand how lucky I was. I only cared about posting my experiences on social media. I wish I could go back and be more present in the moment,” she said.

Linh’s favorite place to travel to is Japan. She misses eating sushi and noodles from local restaurants in Tokyo.“I like the hustle culture in Japan. It always seems like everyone is always on the go and that motivates me to work even harder,” she said.

As an experienced traveler, she shared a word of wisdom for novice travelers, “Pack lightly, plan ahead, and talk to locals because that’s the best way to really immerse yourself in the environment you are in.”

Traveling comes with homesickness. However, Linh has effective ways to cope with it. She often calls her parents and friends from Vietnam, uses social media to update them, and reads the news in Vietnamese. However, she still misses the strong sense of community that she had in Vietnam, which is hard to replicate because the west is an individualistic culture. “We don’t even lock our doors in Vietnam because we want our neighbors to come in and hang out,” she said.

She advises DePauw students who struggle with homesickness to have a healthy lifestyle to improve their mental health, practice mindfulness, and keep in touch with their loved ones. 

As much as she loves her home country, especially her hometown Hanoi, Linh doubts she will ever permanently settle down in one place. “I am a nomad. That’s how everyone knows me now,” she said.

Hi, I am Mariam! I am an English Writing major and a Political Science minor. I am part of the Bonner Scholars program, The DePuaw, and A Midwestern Review. In my free time, I like traveling, learning different languages, and hanging out with my friends.